August 31, 2020



North SJ Valley:

Coronavirus update: As summer surge continues, hospital bed use declines

Modesto Bee

In the last 37 days, Stanislaus County has recorded 7,000 new COVID-19 cases after announcing Saturday that 225 more residents had become infected. It took 136 days – and with a greater number test results – to eclipse that mark since its first positive case in March, illustrating the rapid spread during this summer’s surge. On July 23, Stanislaus County announced 417 new infections to reach 7,401 positive results. On Saturday, the total number of infections stood at 14,482 cases.

Former Calif Senator Tom Berryhill passes away at 67


Former Calif Senator Tom Berryhill passed away on Saturday at the age of 67. Berryhill was a farmer and small business owner who represented the 25th Assembly District from 2006-2010 and the 8th Senate District from 2010-2018.  (Sen. Berryhill was also a Board member of the Maddy Institute for several years.)

See Also:

●     Stanislaus County supervisors recall a dedicated public servant in colleague Berryhill Modesto Bee

Want to get to know candidates? Your best bet: Modesto Bee forums

Modesto Bee

The signs of campaign season are upon us. Political signs adorn major street corners. Candidates ask for our money. National conventions entertained us on TV, or maybe helped ease us to bed.

Tense Modesto straight pride rally has militia, Proud Boys face counterprotesters

Modesto Bee

For the second year, a planned “straight pride” rally in Modesto morphed into something different as militia members, Proud Boys and counterprotesters faced off Saturday afternoon.

Central SJ Valley:

Fresno County official says rate of COVID-19 infection has plateaued


Fresno County remains in a widespread risk tier as health officials say they would like to see more testing done. Of the 2,000 tests administered each day by the county, about 11-13% come back positive.

See Also:

●     Over 3 dozen die in Fresno this week; How area barbers, salons reopen Fresno Bee

●     Coronavirus updates: Fresno County hospitalizations drop; Foster Farms closure looms Fresno Bee

College rankings put Fresno State among the top in the nation

Fresno State Campus News

Wash Monthly, a Wash, D.C.-based magazine, announced today that Fresno State ranked No. 26 out of 389 private and public universities for best serving the country in the areas of social mobility, research and civic engagement.

Warszawski: Marijuana is legal in Calif. So why is Clovis trying to ban home deliveries?

Fresno Bee

The War on Pot ended four years ago when Calif voters overwhelmingly passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. So why do Clovis city leaders continue to wage an unnecessary battle against their own residents?

Worship rally held in Hanford as churches face restrictions during pandemic


United under one cause, a large group of people marched through the streets of Hanford to protest the state’s regulations on churches. As it stands, places of worship are not allowed to hold indoor services.

Lemoore council to discuss cannabis permit

Hanford Sentinel

The Lemoore City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss a cannabis operation in the city. During a public hearing, council will consider approving a project development agreement and cannabis regulatory permit between the city and FARM Lemoore, LLC, for cannabis cultivation.

Council to receive update on COVID-19 issues

Hanford Sentinel

The Hanford City Council is set to meet Tuesday to receive an update on COVID-19 related issues. During the meeting, council will discuss the Kings County COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program, as well as talk about the recent meetings with the state’s unified support team.

South SJ Valley:

Kern Public Health: 13 new coronavirus deaths, 144 new cases reported

Bakersfield Califn

Thee Kern County Public Health Services Department reported 13 new deaths and 144 new cases of coronavirus Saturday morning. That brings the total to 286 deaths and 29,115 confirmed cases since reporting began in mid-March. The county reports 11,640 people have recovered from their illness. This is the age breakdown of the positive cases: 3,335 people up to age 17; 18,106 people ages 18 to 49; 5,174 people ages 50-64; 2,457 people ages 65 and older. The state reports that 147 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Kern, and 53 of those are in intensive care units. Those numbers were last updated Thursday.

Passionate about downtown? The Hub’s Innovation Lab wants you

Bakersfield Califn

This pandemic has proved that people can get creative when the need arises, whether it was home projects or ways to entertain the family. While many are focused again on more everyday pursuits, there’s still a place for go-getters to keep using those creative muscles: downtown Bakersfield.


Calif Announces New COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Capital Public Radio

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a retooled process for loosening and tightening COVID-19 restrictions Friday. Labeled a “Blueprint for a Safer Calif,” the system puts Calif’s 58 counties into four tiers based on the number of new daily cases and the %age of positive tests.

See Also:

●     Newsom releases new reopening framework. Here’s what it means for Calif businesses Visalia Times Delta

●     COVID-19 update: Governor unveils tiered system Porterville Recorder

●     Newsom unveils sweeping new coronavirus reopening rules for businesses in Calif LA Times

●     Here’s what Calif’s new color-coded reopening rules mean SF Chronicle

●     Is the case criteria for Calif’s new color-coded reopening plan too harsh? SFGate

●     Calif to reopen in slower phases after hard lessons from summer surge Politico

●     A Plan for Reopening Calif New York Times

●     Governor: COVID-19 will be with us for a long time Turlock Journal

●     With improving virus data, Calif looks to reopen again Associated Press

Calif could see a quarter-million coronavirus tests a day under new state plan

LA Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that Calif has signed a contract with an East Coast medical diagnostics company to more than double the number of coronavirus tests that can be processed in the state, eventually expanding capacity to roughly a quarter of a million tests per day.

See also:

●     Editorial: The CDC’s incredibly bad coronavirus testing advice LA Times

On the verge of becoming law: These 2020 bills are up to Calif’s governor


Lawmakers tackled numerous thorny issues, passing legislation that could impact life in Calif for years to come — to make it easier to get mental health care, ban flavored tobacco and overhaul the use of plastic packaging, among others. Now it’s up to the governor to decide if their ideas should become law.

Wildfire funding bill poised to die in Calif Legislature


Calif lawmakers are running out of time and may abandon a last-minute bill that would have raised $3 billion for wildfire and climate change projects by extending an existing fee on some utility customers.

Calif acts to increase diversity on corporate boards

Bakersfield Califn

Calif moved closer Saturday to a first-in-the-nation law requiring corporate boards to include racial or sexual minorities, expanding on a new law that sets a similar requirement for including women directors.

See Also:

●     Calif corporations would be required to diversify their boards under bill sent to Newsom LA Times

●     Mandate diversity? Calif bill would ban all-white corporate boards CalMatters

●     Calif companies to be required to name minority, LGBTQ leaders under bill heading to Newsom Sac Bee

●     Slavery reparations study, diversity mandate for corporate boards advance in Calif SF Chronicle

●     Calif moves to consider reparations for slavery Bakersfield Califn

Californians could see financial relief, more testing capacity soon

Sac Bee

Calif’s jobless residents will soon see an extra $300 coming to them every week with their unemployment checks as the state prepares to send out benefits to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

EDITORIAL: Calif’s Democratic and Republican legislators dodge pay cuts, unite in hypocrisy

Sac Bee

In May, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Calif State Legislature forced the vast majority of the state’s 236,000 employees to take a 9.23% pay cut starting in July. It wasn’t voluntary. Calif has a $54 billion budget shortfall because of the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, making cuts necessary.

OPINION: Calif takes on Trump — for the 100th time

Wash Post

The National Environmental Policy Act, which was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon more than 50 years ago, is so foundational to environmental law that advocates refer to it as the “Magna Carta.” It’s also despised by many conservative politicians and pro-business types, who view its rigorous environmental review processes as an impediment to growth.


Disapproval of Trump COVID response hits new high — and many aren’t hopeful, poll says


Disapproval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has reached a new high, according to a recent CNN poll. Fifty-eight % of Americans disapprove of Trump’s COVID-19 response and 55 % say they think the worst is yet to come in the pandemic.

See also:

See also:

●     Trump’s approval ratings so far are unusually stable – and deeply partisan PEW

●     New Trump pandemic adviser pushes controversial ‘herd immunity’ strategy, worrying public health officials Wash Post

●     Opinion: The COVID Pretext American Conservative

Census, like the Postal Service, has been politicized in an election year

LA Times

The U.S. Postal Service isn’t the only staid federal agency to be drawn into a political battle in 2020. Unlike the department charged with delivering mail, however, the Census Bureau has been here before. It has found itself targeted by politicians repeatedly since it conducted its first nationwide head count in 1790.

See Also:

●     Editorial: The census is in trouble. So is democracy LA Times

●     Commentary: The United States Postal Service Is More ‘Essential’ Than You Thought The Hill

Members of Congress have lost control over spending

Wash Post

The Constitution affords Congress the “power of the purse”: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” In recent decades, the rise of all-encompassing omnibus spending bills and other changes to the legislative process have eroded Congress’s exercise of this authority, limiting the influence of Congress and individual lawmakers over the course of federal spending.

Commentary: Protesting is as important as voting


From those national protests, “defund the police” quickly emerged as a rallying cry for Americans demanding systemic reform. And those demands have generated substantive policy change. Both Democrats and Republicans have offered federal legislation on police reform, and across the nation, local municipal leaders are cutting bloated police budgets.

Editorial: The military doesn’t want to get involved

The Atlantic

Political partisans are trying to benefit from the armed forces’ popularity. But America’s most trusted institution got that way by staying out of civilian affairs.

Coronavirus Trackers:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Calif

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

See also:

●     Calif Department of Public Health

●     Coronavirus (COVID-19) CDC

●     Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic – WHO

●     John Hopkins University & Medicine John Hopkins University

●     Tracking coronavirus in Calif LA Times

●     Coronavirus Tracker SF Chronicle

●      Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count New York Times

●     How many coronavirus cases have been reported in each U.S. state? Politico

●     Coronavirus Daily NPR

●     Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads Fin Times

●     Coronavirus in Calif by the numbers CalMatters

OPINION: How the media has us thinking all wrong about the coronavirus

Wash Post

Last month, a swimmer in Maine was killed by a shark. This tragic event was widely reported by local and national media. It was news. But the fact that there are hardly ever shark attacks in the United States is not news, because we expect most days to pass without shark-related fatalities.

Commentary: When it comes to COVID-19, don’t let the good news become the bad news


There is good COVID-19 news, and some potential bad news. In many counties, including LA, indicators of how we are handling the COVID-19 virus indicate that the state is doing better. Daily deaths, hospitalizations and infection rates are trending down.

Elections 2020:

Republicans see Calif as perfect foil as fall campaign begins


The Calif-bashing has only just begun. After defining Calif this week as a “land of discarded heroin needles,’’ rolling blackouts, voter fraud and sanctuary cities during their national convention, Republicans this week made clear they intend to make the blue state a prime campaign foil this fall.

AP FACT CHECK: Is Trump’s America great again or hellscape?

AP News

The Republican National Convention begged this question: Why are President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters describing the state of his union as a hellscape? It was perhaps the central paradox for voters wondering what to believe in the rhetoric, because it defied logic to believe it all. Are Americans living in a dystopia or in an America made great again by Trump?

See also:

●     7 Takeaways From The Republican National Convention VPR

How the DNC pulled off a ratings win in a pandemic

LA Times

A mix of live and pre-recorded material that made the case for the Biden-Harris ticket, injected new life into a hidebound political tradition and — in contrast to the Republican National Convention last week — did so while adhering to public health guidelines.

More U.S. companies pledge to give workers time off to vote in November

LA Times

A growing number of U.S. companies are pledging to give workers time off to vote in the presidential election this November, an effort that’s gaining steam despite the government’s reluctance to make election day a federal holiday.

Trump and Biden supporters differ sharply on acknowledging the nation’s historical flaws


Supporters of Donald Trump and Joe Biden do not just disagree over major national issues and the country’s direction. They also differ over the factors behind U.S. success and the merits of acknowledging the nation’s historical flaws.

Fact Check: Trump’s and Biden’s Records On Criminal Justice


For four nights, speakers at the Republican National Convention pilloried Democrat Joe Biden over his alleged weakness on crime and painted a dystopian future if he were to be elected in November.

See Also:

●     Trump and allies keep accusing Biden of not condemning violence — shortly after Biden condemns violence Wash Post

●     ‘Great Patriots!’: Trump lavishes praise on supporters amid deadly clashes with social justice protesters Wsshington Post

●     Kamala Harris was a prosecutor. Can Donald Trump paint her as soft on crime? Sac Bee

●     Column: Trump’s Scare Tactics Haven’t Worked Against Biden So Far. Could That Change? New Yorker

●     Willie Brown: Burning and looting in the name of justice will hand election to Trump SF Chronicle

More People With Felony Convictions Can Vote, but Roadblocks Remain

Pew Trusts

In every state except Maine and Vermont, people convicted of felonies are stripped of their voting rights while in prison. In most states, that ban extends to those on probation or parole, while some states have additional time and fee requirements, disenfranchising millions of people.

OPINION: Kamala Harris’ Jamaican roots should be admired, not distorted by conservatives

Fresno Bee

Just hours after Joe Biden announced Calif Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, the right-wing disinformation factory began throwing all kinds of racist charges about her ancestry.

See also:

●     OPINION: Kamala Harris’ vice presidential run is a campaign to be America’s second Black president LA Times

5 facts about presidential and vice presidential debates


After the Democratic and Republican party conventions, the next big events on the U.S. political calendar are the debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, which has sponsored the events since 1988, has scheduled three debates between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, on Sept. 29, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, and one debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris on Oct. 7.

Opinion: Can Joe Biden Unrig the Economy?

The Nation

The Democrats’ 2020 presidential primary race was obsessed with taxes. There was the public debate over how to pay for Medicare for All. There was also the insider dispute among experts, no less contentious, over the feasibility and desirability of a wealth tax.

Fearing Delays and Chaos, Swing States Weigh Early Counting of Mail-In Ballots

Pew Trusts

The cumbersome and sometimes slow counting of an expected record number of mail-in ballots — especially in some crucial swing states — could delay results and open the door to challenges in this year’s elections.


Fact Check: Twitter removes QAnon supporter’s false claim about coronavirus death statistics that Trump had retweeted


Twitter on Sunday took down a tweet containing a false claim about coronavirus death statistics that was made by a supporter of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory — a post that President Donald Trump had retweeted earlier in the day.

See also:

●     Podcast: Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny explain QAnon Brookings

Fact-checking Trump’s lies is essential. It’s also increasingly fruitless.

Wash Post

Daniel Dale met President Trump’s convention speech with a tirade of truth Thursday night — a tour de force of fact-checking that left CNN anchor Anderson Cooper looking slightly stunned.

Black Americans are much more likely to serve the nation, in military and civilian roles


National service has the potential to create a better and more equal society. But to fulfill its promise, more Americans must do their part. Richard Reeves and Sarah Nzau examine gender, race, and class gaps in military service and civilian service, and outline measures to widen the scope and representativeness of each.

Rising share of lawmakers – but few Republicans – are using the term Latinx on social media


Use of the term Latinx by members of the U.S. Congress on social media has increased substantially in recent years, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. One-quarter of lawmakers mentioned the term on Facebook or Twitter during the 116th Congress, up from just 2% who did so during the 114th Congress.


Sunday, September 6, at 10 a.m. on ABC30 – Maddy Report: “Calif Migration: The Story of Us” – Guests: Judy Lin, CALmatters. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.

Sunday, September 6, at 10 a.m. on Newstalk 580AM/105.9FM (KMJ) – Maddy Report – Valley Views Edition: “Calif Migration & Immigration: Who Is Coming and Who is Going?”  – Guests: SOS Padilla, Sarah Bohn- PPIC, John Myers, LA Times and Judy Lin with CALmatters. Host: Maddy Institute Executive Director, Mark Keppler.


Here’s what Fresno-area farmers need to know about air quality amid COVID-19 this weekend

Fresno Bee

As massive wildfires torched Calif, smoke engulfed the Central Valley this week, polluting the air and creating a dangerously unhealthy atmosphere. Already facing a brutal summer of triple-digit temperatures and the coronavirus pandemic, the region’s 420,000 farmworkers faced dangerous air during the peak harvest season.

See also:

●     Fires Exacerbate Difficult Working Conditions For Farm Workers VPR

‘They don’t care about the workers’: Foster Farms employee at Livingston plant says he’s scared to go back


Foster Farms has been ordered to shut down operations at their Livingston facility after eight employees die from COVID-19 and more than 350 employees test positive.

See Also:

●     Foster Farms plant in Calif was supposed to close Saturday. What happened instead Fresno Bee

●     Foster Farms to temporarily close poultry plant after 8 workers die of COVID-19 LA Times

Wildfires again threaten business in Calif wine country

Bakersfield Califn

With an early harvest already underway, a wildfire a few miles west of John Bucher’s ranch added new urgency to getting his pinot noir grapes off the vine. If flames didn’t do any damage to the delicate fruit, ash and smoke certainly could.

Tech Startup, Trying to Be Amazon for Farms, Runs Into Ag Giants


Inside a packed arena last December, 2,700 farmers sipped coffee from paper cups and listened to remarks on the Midwestern economy: incomes down, costs up and bankruptcies rising. The speaker wasn’t a politician or an academic. He was Charles Baron, co-founder of Farmers Business Network, or FBN, a Silicon Valley startup that is trying to build an Amazon-like online marketplace for agricultural supplies.



Calif Senate OKs state reviews for police shootings

Modesto Bee

Calif is close to requiring independent investigations any time police kill an unarmed civilian, a move that would strip authority from local prosecutors at a time of heightened distrust between law enforcement and communities of color.

See Also:

●     Some police shootings would be investigated by Calif AG under bill nearing approval SF Chronicle

Public Safety:

Calif COVID prison releases catching victims of ‘non-violent’ crimes off-guard


Calif’s plan to release thousands of low-level inmates from prisons is catching some victims off-guard. They’re saying some of the prisoners released to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are violent criminals, but they qualify for early release.

Calif change to bullet-tracing mandate is sent to Newsom

SF Chronicle

Gov. Gavin Newsom will decide whether to escalate a longstanding battle between Calif and the gun industry over bullet-tracing technology. The Legislature sent a bill to Newsom on Sunday that aims to compel firearms manufacturers to embrace the technology known as microstamping, which they have long rejected as unworkable, by scaling back standards the state adopted more than a decade ago.

EDITORIAL: Police reforms face defeat as Calif Democrats block George Floyd-inspired bills

Sac Bee

So much for the moist eyes and feigned empathy some Calif Democrats showcased during the Black Lives Matter marches that followed the police killing of George Floyd. Despite performative emoting by powerful members of Calif’s ruling party, a slate of necessary police reforms may be headed for full or partial defeat in the Calif State Legislature.

Police PR machine under scrutiny for inaccurate reporting, alleged pro-cop bias

LA Times

The evolving narrative of the Robertson shooting is a vivid illustration of the key role that law enforcement public relations units have come to play in shaping the public’s understanding of confrontations with police. The units are an influential yet little-examined arm of law enforcement, with staffers sometimes applying the principles of crisis communications when their officers’ actions spark controversy.

Brookings: Autonomous vehicles could improve policing, public safety and much more


In a world of autonomous vehicles, much of the nation’s policing that is devoted to enforcing traffic safety laws, and the sometimes fatal altercations that result, would not exist. Policymakers should be motivated by this benefit, among many others, to expedite adoption of these vehicles.


Here’s how Calif’s worst-ever wildfire siege occurred

Wash Post

One indication of how destructive the past two weeks have been in Calif lies in the terminology the state firefighting agency uses to refer to what has happened. CalFire refers to the period since Aug. 15 as a “fire siege,” a term that might otherwise be used in warfare, but it’s appropriate considering two of the state’s top 5 largest fires on record began and reached record sizes during this time frame.

See Also:

●      Why Calif’s 2020 lightning fires got so big so fast LA Times

●     Skelton: In this year’s atypical Calif fire season, politicians find the blame game won’t work LA Times

The West is burning, so Calif struggles to find help fighting its wildfires


Calif’s wildfire resources are the envy of the world: It owns the most extensive fleet of firefighting aircraft, and the largest and best-equipped crews. Yet, already this year, CalFire can’t keep up with the fire siege hitting the state, whipped by a barrage of lighting strikes, an historic heat wave and plenty of brush and buildings poised to burn.

See Also:

●     As wildfires rage, Calif needs more firefighters. Why won’t it let former inmates join the ranks?

●     SF Chronicle

●     My cousin had his best year fighting fires as an inmate. But the system failed him. Wash Post

Here are Calif’s biggest fires burning right now, and where air quality is worst

Sac Bee

Firefighters are seeing improvement in containing the hundreds of wildfires that have burned Calif, mostly in the north half of the state, this month. The LNU Lightning Complex and SCU Lightning Complex saw significant strides in containment by through the weekend, state and federal fire officials said, as both fires reached the 50% containment mark.

Calif fire crews, aided by cooler weather, report ‘great progress’ against LNU, SCU lightning complex fires

Visalia Times Delta

Firefighters continued to gain ground Sunday against the nearly two dozen wildfires blazing in Calif — including the two complex fires in the SF Bay Area that have burned more than 750,000 acres and forced hundreds of thousands of evacuations.

Sequoia Complex Fire has burned nearly 24,000 acres

Porterville Recorder

The Sequoia Complex Fire, which includes the Castle Fire and the Shotgun Fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has burned 23,625 acres as of Friday afternoon. The Castle Fire has burned 23,293 acres and there is still 0 % containment. On Thursday, the fire crossed the Kern River making strong runs towards Overlook Mountain and Kern Ridge.

See Also:

●     Sequoia National Forest fire grows to 34,000-plus acres, with evacuations still active Fresno Bee

●     Ponderosa ordered to evacuate as Sequoia Complex fire grows in Tulare County Visalia Times Delta

●     Evacuation order issued for Ponderosa, other areas Porterville Recorder

How the Dolan Fire turned Calif’s most scenic route into a smoldering ghost highway

Modesto Bee

At the northwestern-most corner of San Luis Obispo County, an orange-and-white blockade cuts across one lane of Highway 1, just as the road emerges from the rush of trees that spill down the mountain, hiding the cliff-side community of Ragged Point amid their trunks.

See Also:

●     Dolan Fire near Big Sur is 25% contained — but hot, dry weather is on its way Modesto Bee

Calif lawmakers vote to phase out toxic firefighting foam

LA Times

Calif lawmakers voted Sunday to phase out the sale and use of firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer and have contaminated drinking water throughout the state.

To Manage Wildfire, Calif Looks To What Tribes Have Known All Along


On a cool February morning, around 60 people gathered in the Sierra Nevada foothills to take part in a ceremony that, for many decades, was banned. Men and women from Native American tribes in Northern Calif stood in a circle, alongside university students and locals from around the town of Mariposa. Several wore bright yellow shirts made of flame-resistant fabric. For the next two days, the group would be carefully lighting fires in the surrounding hills.

New $1 billion federal-state agreement aims to reduce Calif wildfire risks

SF Chronicle

As flames crackle across Calif, state and federal officials have launched a plan to disrupt the cycle of wildfires that regularly choke the region with smoke and have gotten more dangerous and destructive over the years.

See also

●     Yes, Trump Said He Offered Russia Help With Wildfires. No, He Didn’t Deny Calif Fire Assistance. Capital Public Radio



Some Fresno businesses prepare for changes after Gov. Newsom details new reopening plan


Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced new COVID-19 reopening rules for businesses around Calif. The changes will allow hair salons and shopping malls to welcome customers back inside – but not restaurants or bars.

See Also:

●     What Calif businesses can and can’t reopen on August 31 in Purple counties with ‘widespread’ COVID-19 abc30

●     Barber shops and hair salons can open on Monday Porterville Recorder

●     Hair salons, malls and libraries can reopen Monday under new rules Bakersfield Califn

●     Salon workers call for lifting ban as state adjusts COVID-19 metrics Bakersfield Califn

●     New statewide COVID rules mean Modesto-area hair salons can open next week Modesto Bee

Modesto to Velvet Grills: Stop indoor dining or we will fine you each $1,000 per day

Modesto Bee

Modesto will fine both Velvet Grill & Creamery restaurants $1,000 each for every day they continue to serve customers indoors in violation of Calif’s most recent public health order issued in July to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

Local brewers forge a path through pandemic

Bakersfield Califn

Bakersfield’s microbrewery scene was still in the fermenting stages when COVID-19 hit, and it quickly became clear that adjustments would have to be made fast or a lot of craft beer would go down the drain — and along with it, substantial investment in local commercial brewing.

Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Calif For All

Calif has a blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.

The Fed Lays Out New Goals, but Its Tools Could Be Lacking


Now that the Federal Reserve has formally codified changes to its policy framework to seek periods of higher inflation, the question is how to achieve it.

S&P 500 rises to close out longest weekly win streak of 2020

LA Times

The gains keep piling up on Wall Street, and the S&P 500 rallied again on Friday to close out its fifth straight winning week. The benchmark index rose 23.46, or 0.7%, to 3,508.01, setting another record high and several more superlatives.

Trump Administration Begins Payroll Tax Deferral Plan


The Treasury Department began implementing President Trump’s plan to allow a payroll tax deferral, an executive action he says will help households weather the pandemic-ravaged economy but which faces significant practical hurdles and skepticism from employers.

OPINION: The American Economy Is Already Too Far Left for Comfort — or Prosperity

National Review

Today we profess to live under capitalism, yet state spending represents 40 % of GDP, while much of the rest of the economy is distorted by state-determined ultra-low interest rates and state-imposed regulations.


Calif legislators wanted to fund $600 in extra jobless benefits. What happened?

SF Chronicle

A month ago, Calif legislators were almost unbridled in their ambition to ease the financial pain the coronavirus pandemic is causing to people and the economy. They proposed a $100 billion stimulus plan in July that called for backfilling an extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits if Congress didn’t extend the aid. They wanted to expand a host of safety-net programs, including increasing tax credits for low-income Califns.

‘A totally different ballgame’: Inside Uber and Lyft’s fight over gig worker status


Veena Dubal couldn’t stop her mind from reeling. It was around midnight on March 29 and coronavirus lockdowns were in effect. She says she paced back and forth between her three young children’s rooms making sure each one was OK. She tried to convince herself she was overreacting. It didn’t work.

The Summer of Un- and Underemployment


In July, the state’s employment growth hit the pause button when parts of Calif had to slow reopening plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While jobs grew and unemployment fell—both good signs—both were at a slower rate than previous months. A closer look suggests challenges that go beyond official labor market statistics, with many workers underemployed including some who have given up on finding work.

New Covid-19 Layoffs Make Job Reductions Permanent


A new wave of layoffs is washing over the U.S. as several big companies reassess staffing plans and settle in for a long period of uncertainty. MGM Resorts International and Stanley Black & Decker Inc. recently told some employees furloughed at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic that they wouldn’t be put back on the payroll.

See also:

●     Commentary: Wages and GDP lost due to COVID-19 school closures Brookings

JOSE GASPAR: Job training program strives to keep helping

Bakersfield Califn

For the past 42 years, a local job training provider has made it possible for hundreds, if not thousands, of job seekers to be gainfully employed in two of its programs, bookkeeping and administrative assistant.



Calif issues new guidance to reopen schools. What does this mean for your child?

Fresno Bee

Momentum is growing to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic in Sac and around the state, but in a limited way that Gov. Gavin Newsom and health officials say will be safe and controllable.

See also:

●     New State Tracking System Changes Equation for K-12 School Reopening aalrr

Fresno’s Learning Curve: Navigating Education Access in a Pandemic

Fresno Bee

“Learning Curve: Navigating Education Access in a Pandemic” was a panel that explored the profound impact the coronavirus is having on families with children in school.

See Also:

●     Learning Curve: How the pandemic affects the student community Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting Fresno’s youth Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Who makes the decisions in education? Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Showing kindness and grace to teachers, students and parents Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: How the census and Proposition 15 can help Fresno schools Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Training parents in technology Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Broadband as a free public utility Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: How the pandemic affects marginalized students Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Lack of childcare during the pandemic Fresno Bee

●     Learning Curve: Free internet and digital literacy Fresno Bee

Fresno Unified receives large donation of coats for the kids

Fresno Bee

An anonymous donor provided 4,000 coats to Fresno Unified for students in need. The coats came in all sizes and will be given to any homeless students in the district first through Fresno Unified’s Project Access program, according to Trustee Veva Islas.

Distance Learning:

●     Merced County high schools investigating racially charged videos directed at teachers Fresno Bee

●     Classes in Selma canceled Friday after district computer systems hit by ransomware abc30

●     Visalia teachers protest online learning schedule that ‘hurts kids,’ donate to VEAC Visalia Times Delta

●     What the first week of distance learning looked like in Kern County Bakersfield Califn

●     Kern teachers reinvent music education to give students comfort and community in era of distance learning Bakersfield Califn

●     In Remote Learning, Children With Disabilities Face Unique Challenges WSJ

Valley Voices: Immanuel School founder would question defiance of county health order over COVID-19

Fresno Bee

I, a Mennonite with strong roots in the Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren churches, am grieved to see Immanuel High School’s decision to meet face to face this fall amidst a raging pandemic.

Commentary: How Democrats can compromise on charter schools to benefit all students


Democrats are divided on charter schools along racial lines. White Democratic voters are less likely to support charter schools than Black or Hispanic Democratic voters. House Democrats and Democratic presidential candidates propose to reduce or eliminate federal funding to charter schools through the Charter Schools Program(CSP), which could create a wedge issue in the Democratic Party.

Wages and GDP lost due to COVID-19 school closures


Though much about the current global pandemic remains unknown, history and emerging research teach us that the COVID-19 crisis will have deep and lasting repercussions for both education and earnings, at both the individual and aggregate levels.

Higher Ed:

College rankings put Fresno State among the top in the nation

Fresno State Campus News

Wash Monthly, a Wash, D.C.-based magazine, announced today that Fresno State ranked No. 26 out of 389 private and public universities for best serving the country in the areas of social mobility, research and civic engagement.

Finally, a local college student represents Bakersfield on the CSU Board of Trustees


The Calif State University’s Board of Trustees oversees the nation’s largest system of baccalaureate-level higher education — 23 campuses including CSU Bakersfield. But in the board’s 60 years of governance it has never had a student trustee from Kern County.

OPINION: ‘Critical’ Ethnic Studies Returns to Calif


A year after it was sent back to the drawing board, Calif’s ethnic-studies model curriculum is back. The last version, released in May 2019, was radical and jargon-laced. Even many progressives found it fringy.

The Secrets of Elite College Admissions


Last year, when high-school seniors applied to college, they never could have imagined the mess that a global pandemic would create for their first semester. But for students at the nation’s best-known and most selective institutions, they also will never know just how close they may have come to not getting in at all.

College Is Everywhere Now

New York Times

As the fall semester begins, many college students will be attending classes from the relative safety of their family homes. Others have arrived to live on university campuses, with varying amounts of success; even schools that enforce strict social distancing guidelines are seeing outbreaks of the coronavirus.



Calif’s Wildlife Can Handle Fires – Human Encroachment Is the Problem


At 5:33 a.m. on May 13, 2017, Steven Sergeant was standing at the edge of Mississippi Lake in Henry W. Coe State Park southeast of San Jose. The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. You could hear the morning chorus of birds, fish jumping in the lake, black-tailed jackrabbits beginning to stir. Sergeant set up his recording gear to capture it all.

Clouds of Smoke are Blowing Misery Across the West

New York Times

Wildfires are burning from Calif to Minnesota, leaving millions of people to cough and wheeze through the toxic air. Gathering indoors brings the risk of coronavirus. Is there no respite?

Editorial: Calif is leading again on clean trucks and cleaner air

LA Times

Here’s one bright spot in an otherwise depressing 2020: Over the last few months, Calif has taken dramatic, landmark steps toward slashing emissions from heavy-duty diesel trucks that contribute heavily to smog, soot and planet-warming gases.

Commentary: Bad policy is not the answer to Calif’s recycling woes


Every year during the end-of-session debates in the Legislature, bills that had previously stalled suddenly get new life. Sometimes, it’s the result of a grand bargain struck to advance long-held policy objectives. Other times, it’s the result of public pressure created by an emerging crisis.

Study: Fewer wildlife deaths as traffic dips during pandemic

Fresno Bee

A study shows Calif’s stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus seems to have saved some wildlife, as decreased traffic resulted in fewer collisions with mountain lions, deer and other large animals.


Calif Democrats scuttle wildfire utility fee plan, turn to Newsom in last-ditch effort

LA Times

Facing heavy opposition, Calif lawmakers have scrapped a last-minute bill to extend fees for utility customers and plan to replace it with a more modest call for $500 million in emergency fire response and mitigation efforts. The new proposal requires Gov. Gavin Newsom to waive a state law that prevents legislators from amending bills in the final hours before the Legislature adjourns for the year.

State utility regulators discussed commission business via text messages, records show

San Diego Union-Tribune

Members of the Calif Public Utilities Commission appear to have held private discussions about their executive director in advance of a meeting Monday to consider her termination, according to records reviewed by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

WALTERS: We have a power supply problem


The rolling electrical blackouts that hit Calif in mid-August were — or should have been — a wakeup call about power supply deficits that have been building for years.



Fresno County official says rate of COVID-19 infection has plateaued


Fresno County remains in a widespread risk tier as health officials say they would like to see more testing done. Of the 2,000 tests administered each day by the county, about 11-13% come back positive.

See Also:

●     Coronavirus updates: Calif hits 700,000 infections, nation 6 million, world 25 million Fresno Bee

●     Kern Public Health: 13 new coronavirus deaths, 144 new cases reported Bakersfield Califn

●     Public Health reports 125 new coronavirus cases Bakersfield Califn

●     Coronavirus update: As summer surge continues, hospital bed use declines Modesto Bee

Can your pet get COVID-19? Can it give you coronavirus? We asked UC Davis experts

Sac Bee

If you’ve had COVID-19 and worried about spreading the disease to your pet, you’re not alone. According to UC Davis Chief Veterinary Medical Officer Jane Sykes, pets can get the coronavirus, but they might not become sick from it.

Could the coronavirus make for a lighter flu season?

LA Times

Among the many questions confronting public health experts is one that could determine the next turn of the coronavirus pandemic: What happens when COVID-19 meets influenza?

Preschoolers are mask-licking germ bombs — yet few catch the coronavirus, data show

LA Times

In a typical year, an otherwise healthy preschooler will bring home 12 to 18 upper respiratory infections. But 2020 is not a typical year, and SARS-CoV-2 — the technical term for the novel coronavirus — is no day-care germ. Now, with hundreds of large centers reopening across Calif, many families are asking: Is preschool safe?

Why won’t counties report workplace COVID outbreaks to the public?


While some officials err on the side of transparency, others refuse to disclose outbreaks in order to preserve cooperation from employers who aren’t legally obligated to report outbreaks.

As Telemedicine Replaces The Physical Exam, What Are Doctors Missing?

Valley Public Radio

Dr. Paul Hyman, author of a recently published essay in JAMA Internal Medicine, reflects on what’s lost when physicians see their patients almost exclusively through a screen.

Goodbye ‘Banana Smash’ Cigarillos: Governor Quickly Signs Bill To Ban Flavored Tobacco

Capital Public Radio

Cotton candy vape, tropical fusion cigarillos and menthol cigarettes will be extinct in Calif after a bill aimed at stopping kids from getting addicted to tobacco sailed through the Legislature Friday — and the governor almost immediately signed it.

See Also:

●     Ban on flavored tobacco — a half-hearted approach to protect youth — will hurt convenience store owners Hanford Sentinel

●     Gavin Newsom signs ban on sales of flavored tobacco products in Calif stores Sac Bee

●     Newsom signs flavored tobacco ban hours after it clears Legislature Politico

Opinion: Public Health Leaders Deserve More Respect


As a veteran who served back-to-back tours in Iraq, I initially cringed when commentators compared the COVID-19 crisis to wartime — no bullets, no blood and no one volunteered for this.

FDA willing to fast track coronavirus vaccine before phase three trials end


The chief of the Food and Drug Administration is prepared to bypass the full federal approval process in order to make a Covid-19 vaccine available as soon as possible, according to an interview in the Financial Times.

See Also:

●     Inside Trump’s pressure campaign on federal scientists over a covid-19 treatment Wash Post

5 things to know about convalescent blood plasma


President Donald Trump told the American people this week that convalescent plasma is a potential new treatment for COVID-19. His announcement followed the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Aug. 23 to grant fast-track authorization for its emergency use as a treatment for hospitalized COVID patients.

See also:

●     FDA chief apologizes for COVID-19 plasma exaggeration — but Trump’s endgame is clear NBCNews

Human Services:

Calif could see a quarter-million coronavirus tests a day under new state plan

LA Times

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that Calif has signed a contract with an East Coast medical diagnostics company to more than double the number of coronavirus tests that can be processed in the state, eventually expanding capacity to roughly a quarter of a million tests per day.

See also:

●     Editorial: The CDC’s incredibly bad coronavirus testing advice LA Times

HJUHSD offers child care for employees

Hanford Sentinel

It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and it was out of necessity that a partnership between Hanford Joint Union High School District, its employees and the city of Hanford came about.

Latino COVID-19 Taskforce formed in attempt to quell disproportionate rates

Bakersfield Calif

A task force has been formed that aims to provide outreach, education and awareness on COVID-19 to the Latino community, which has been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Calif poised to become national leader on mental health and addiction coverage


Califns could see the most dramatic expansion of mental health and addiction coverage under state law in decades, if Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a bill that is likely heading to his desk in coming weeks.

Black Americans have less confidence in scientists to act in the public interest


Scientists are held in high esteem by most Americans, with public confidence in scientists outpacing that for other prominent groups, but Black adults are significantly less likely than White adults to share that view.

See also:

●     ‘It’s freaking scary.’ Being Black in Fresno takes a toll on mental health Fresno Bee


More undocumented Californians would get state tax credit under proposed law

Fresno Bee

A new Calif budget bill would allow more undocumented immigrants to receive a state tax credit worth hundreds of dollars, loosening restrictions on a program that Gov. Gavin Newsom in June opened for the first time to some residents regardless of immigration status.


Land Use:

Passionate about downtown? The Hub’s Innovation Lab wants you

Bakersfield Califn

This pandemic has proved that people can get creative when the need arises, whether it was home projects or ways to entertain the family. While many are focused again on more everyday pursuits, there’s still a place for go-getters to keep using those creative muscles: downtown Bakersfield.

Firefighters save 1,400-year-old redwood at Armstrong park

SF Chronicle

Firefighters and state natural resources crews on Tuesday guided the Walbridge Fire that has been blazing through wooded hillsides in Sonoma County largely around the towering redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.


Newsom, Lawmakers Strike Pandemic Eviction Deal. Here’s What You Need To Know

Capital Public Radio

No rent forgiveness for tenants. No money for landlords to help them meet their mortgage payments. And no real time to do anything else. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers unveiled their plan Friday to protect Calif from a looming tsunami of evictions caused by the economic fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Not everyone is going to like it.

See Also:

●     With renters on the verge of eviction, lawmakers push compromise bill to stall wave of possible homelessness Bakersfield Califn

●     Gavin Newsom has a deal on a Calif eviction ban. Here’s what you need to know Sac Bee


Here’s what the payroll tax deferral action means for you


The US Treasury Department released guidance Friday evening informing companies and workers how Trump’s proposed tax holiday will apply to them. Companies can stop withholding employees’ payroll taxes starting September 1, although workers will have to pay the taxes by the end of April 2021.

See Also:

●     Trump Administration Begins Payroll Tax Deferral Plan WSJ

WALTERS: Do crises help or hurt tax hikes?


Does the trauma enveloping Calif this year — pandemic, recession, heat waves, blackouts and disastrous wildfires — make voters more or less likely to vote for tax increases? Sponsors of a $12 billion a year hike in taxes on warehouses, office buildings, factories and other commercial property hope it’s more.


Why trash started piling up on Calif highways – and what Caltrans is doing about it

Sac Bee

Trash on Highway 99, is seen Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Sac. There are efforts underway by Caltrans, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers and Sac County to catch up on litter accumulated during the pandemic.

The pandemic is speeding DMV’s road to modernization. For visitors, it’s still no day at the beach

LA Times

For generations, the Calif Department of Motor Vehicles has been a crucible of nerves for teens anxious to complete the rite of passage that is a first driver’s license, older residents hoping to keep theirs and most everyone in between.


Wendell Johnson Hired as West Basin’s New Manager of Engineering

Calif Water News Daily

West Basin Municipal Water District has announced the hiring of Wendell Johnson as the manager of engineering. Johnson brings more than 20 years of engineering and public service experience to the district.

Commentary: Yes, we need a ‘Grand Bargain’ over Delta water – and everyone’s best ideas


Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt calls for “a ‘Grand Bargain’ in which all the parties achieve a consensus, confirmed in legislation, to apportion Delta water between exports and an adequate ecological flow to SF Bay.”


Most Modesto, Mother Lode region festivals make changes or cancel due to coronavirus

Modesto Bee

Usually filled with end-of-summer community and cultural celebrations, September will see most of those events altered this year by the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the annual festivals and fairs in the Modesto and Mother Lode regions will go virtual, many have been canceled – but at least one will go on as normal.

The Scariest Part of the Great Outdoors? The Brand New Camper


Last summer, Samantha Jones Toal spent her weekends bar hopping with friends in the Boystown neighborhood of Chicago. This summer, absent many opportunities to have fun inside, the 23-year-old and two equally indoorsy friends went a few steps outside their comfort zone: backpacking 18 miles through the Ozarks of Missouri.

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Maddy Institute Updated List of San Joaquin Valley Elected Officials HERE.

The Kenneth L. Maddy Institute was established to honor the legacy of one of Calif’s most principled and effective legislative leaders of the last half of the 20th Century by engaging, preparing and inspiring a new generation of governmental leaders for the 21st Century. Its mission is to inspire citizen participation, elevate government performance, provide non-partisan analysis and assist in providing solutions for public policy issues important to the region, state and nation.

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